Ansel Adams famously said, “A good photograph is knowing where to stand.”
I find myself coming back to that quote a lot. Not just as a photographer, but in life, I say to myself, “Why in the hell am I standing here? I should be standing over there!”
As photographers, our job is to observe and document. Wait, that is oversimplifying. We look at the world and we choose a way in which to convey what we ‘see’ to others. That better? Anyway, sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we are seeing through our lens that we don’t stop and take a look at our surroundings.
Deep, I know. This whole thing is a metaphor for life, weddings, work in general… and this doesn’t just apply to photography. Whatever your profession, you need to take a time out and observe yourself and what you are doing.
If you have been working on weddings for a long time, you probably know what it is like to get into a ‘groove’. It isn’t hard to do, especially if you are working on 20…30… or more weddings a year. You just have to make sure the ‘groove’ doesn’t become a ‘rut’ where all of your work feels exactly the same. The same pictures if you’re a photographer, the same designs if you’re a stationer/cake maker/florist… because that is not good for you or your clients.
I was recently on a photojournalism assignment that included covering the opening of a gallery show by Courtney Love. There were at least half a dozen other photographers there, all waiting to get photos of Courtney when she came in. When she finally arrived, she began talking to one of the people there and gave the crew of photographers her ‘full back’. Some of them started shouting her name. “Courtney, over here! Courtney, this way! Courtney! Courtney!” No good. I could have either stood there with the gaggle of paparazzi or I could find somewhere else to stand. So I moved around a corner and got some fantastic shots of Ms. Love talking and gesturing, with no idea she was being photographed, with the gallery sign for her show in the frame as well.
Where on Earth do I begin introducing the made u look girls?
These vivacious, ridiculous talented, infectious and crazily-generous women really do make my heart sing. After chatting to them online for years, I was exceptionally honoured to be able to shoot with them when I was in New York earlier this year. They flew all the way from California to do it and gosh… I owe them so much. They really did make me feel beautiful.
If you’re not inspired after seeing these girls’ images and reading about their incredible journey… well there may be no hope for you. Christina, Alie & Marielle rock my frickin’ world. I love them more than life itself and I really hope we get to hang out again one day…
Photography Credit: Made u Look Photography
Yesterday I had a to do list longer than my arm…
Write a Green Room article.
Book hotel room.
Write 3 wedding posts.
Put clothes away.
Instead I spent most of the day sat in front of my computer, staring at a blank document on my screen. I checked facebook. I tweeted. I checked facebook again. And then I tweeted about zombies. I read my entire Google reader. I read the latest Photo Professional Magazine. I napped. I carried my cats around the house like babies.
Did I do any of the things on my list? Did I hell.
You and your product are awesome. You feel you have set a fair price for what you offer and in the words of our Cheryl “You’re Worth It” Then what’s with all the potential clients wanting to barter with you? It can be utterly soul destroying to be repeatedly asked to lower your rates because somebody else up the road is doing the same thing as you for less.
There are some vendors who love to haggle over prices and don’t ever expect anyone to pay their full rates. If this is you then I wish you well but most of us set a price that we actually want to achieve and feel disheartened when asked to take something off. Interestingly, the most haggling happens at the lower and upper ends of the market. The couple with around £1800 or less to spend on photography often feel that because this end of the market is so overly saturated that they have the power… and quite frankly they do. They have a huge amount of choice and there any many wedding photographers out there willing to compete on price to get the work. If you are somewhere around this price bracket, and find yourself repeatedly asked to take off 10-20% as ‘that is all they have budgeted for photography’ you will quite often get to the wedding and find that the bride is in a £3000 dress or they have a Choccywoccydoodah cake that cost more than you. What that couple actually meant when they said they were on a budget is that they didn’t value your services above some of the other things at their wedding. Sadly these are usually the things that are only there for the day.
Photography Credit: Joanna Brown Photography
Yesterday Gareth told me that I use too! many! exclamation! marks! He said it’s like laughing at your own jokes (well… hell, I think I’m a hoot!) So he’s probably not going to enjoy reading this intro because a gazillion exclamation marks are definitely required to convey to you just how much I love the girls I’m interviewing today (!!!!!!!)
Laura & Emma run the amazing Fur Coat No Knickers, a vintage wedding dress shop in the heart of London. But this isn’t any old vintage shop, oh no, the girls pride themselves in their attention to detail and attentiveness to all their brides. They’re well known for how they ‘pimp’ each of their gowns to make it perfect for the individual girl. Whether it’s shortening, nipping, tucking, letting in, letting out or it’s adding petticoats, giant bows, straps or applique details… no detail is left out when making sure each and every one of their brides leaves with the wedding dress of their dreams.
I could wax lyrical all day long about how wonderful these two women are. They really care about each and every girl they work with, which is why I feature so many of their brides on my blog - because wearing one of their dresses makes brides automatically awesome, happy and gorgeous!
Their Kingley Court shop is my absolute favoruite place in London. If I’m ever in the area I’ll pop in and say hi… and not just because they always offer me bubbly and I get to swoon over all the latest vintage frocks! These girls are wonderful, wonderful people. They’re always there for me when I have a ‘omg I’ve fallen in love with this vintage dress but it’s too small!’ crisis, and they’re always the first to make me feel beautiful when I need it, “We think this dress is perfect for you. Yes, you have to try it on!” A well fitting glamorous vintage dress will do that to a person!
I only wish I’d known about them before I got married!
Selfishness is never an attractive quality.
Whether it’s a room full of toddlers fighting over the same toy or a friend who dumps you for her new boyfriend, selfishness is repulsive… or is it?
Sure, the word selfish has negative connotations, but today I want to encourage you to remember that it’s not always a bad thing to look out for number one… and especially so when you’re trying to run your own business.
David Allen, a work/life management system guru and author of ‘Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity’ once said “You can do anything, but not everything”. So often when we’re working for ourselves we want to be the biggest, the best, the most popular, the most sought after… we don’t want to be left behind, we want to get all the best clients, we want to win the awards and be recognised for what we do… and that’s great, but what does this mentality make us do? Take on too much and try to do it all, that’s what!
This doesn’t benefit anyone and taking this chaotic approach will not only dilute your product and the service you offer your clients (you can’t physically give the same level of service to 100 clients as you can if you only had 1) Cutting down commitments and allowing yourself to focus on a few things, and do them really well, is paramount to success.